"Safaricom is of the view that operators ought to be represented on the Universal Service Advisory Council (USAC); this is because operators collectively hold valuable input and experience that would enrich the operation of the Kenyan USF," added Waita.
Muchiri acknowledges that the involvement of operators is important for transparency and accountability, and notes the CAK is considering an oversight role for the operators in selected projects.
"It is probably better for a USF to work closely with the operators in terms of extending infrastructure and services into the under-served areas," said Pater. "The effect of leaving out the telcos from the process may be ill-conceived projects by the USF, which may translate into wasteful spend of the funds, and the operators treating the fund contributions as another grudge tax."
The invoices by the regulator started going out to operators in the second quarter of this year and Muchiri is optimistic that the levy will be collected in full. Analysts project that the regulator will peg annual spectrum license renewals to the contribution to the USF.
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